Ja-Bol-Lae Observatory – Seoul (자벌레 전망대)

19 08 2010
Jabollae Observatory on the banks of Han River (TtukSeom Resort) is one of the unique buildings in the shape of a Korean Jabollae bug. More than an observatory it is also a multiplex housing 3D theatre, Digital Art Museum, Animation Studios, Gift Shops, Restaurants and Cafes with the panoramic view of the Han River.
Jabollae Observatory is a good place to introduce your kids to the world of animation and digital art. They have continuous videos playing the behind-the-scenes of various animation techniques. Plus it also introduces the kids to the various technique like storyboarding, sketching, scenario etc.
They also have a section where it explains Korean Characters using animation and a section where you see a digital reflection of your self.
The exterior of Jabollae park is equally exciting with beautiful lush green park  where you relax on a busy evening. Just a stone throw away from the observatory you have rock climbing facility and a few water sports like water rides and water surfing.

You can also take a water cab (taxi) from Ttukseom Resort towards Banpo bridge. Take it in the evening to avoid traffic and enjoy the night view across the river.
Once you reach Banpo Bridge you will be able to view the Moonlight Fountain flowing across the bridge in the evening around 8 pm. Its a 20 minute fountain show synchronized with soft instrumental music.

To reach Jabollae Observatory by subway – you need to take Line 7 and get down at Ttukseom Resort – Exit 1.
To reach Banpo Bridge by subway – you need to take Line 3 and get down at Express Bus Terminal – Exit 8-1 and walks towards Banpo Bridge.

English Bookstores in Seoul, Korea.

18 08 2010

It is not that common to find a bookstore in Seoul which sells only English books. All the biggies like Kyobo, Bandi and Lunis, YP Books deal mostly in Korean books and they have a very small section on foreign books where you can find some English Books. Mostly these shops would stock only bestsellers. So if you are looking for a specific writer or a book then finding such books would be a bit challenging in Korea.

There are a few good bookstores in Seoul which deals only in English books:

The first one is What the Book at Itaewon. It is next to next to foreign mart in Itaewon and they have a good collection of new as well as used books. They also have a website: what the book.

Then, there is The Foreign Bookstore at Noksapyeong. They have a huge collection of used magazines and books in almost all genres. To find this place you need to get down at Noksapyeong station (next to Itaewon) exit 2 and walk straight till you can spot a big board titled BOOKS on your right, across the road.

Other option would be to visit Itaewon Global Village Center. They have maintained a library for books received as donations from other expats. You need to make a deposit of 500o won for borrowing any of the books available their. For more details you can visit their blog here.

theyeogiyo.com also hosts a Book Exchange event regularly at Bundang. You can visit their website for more details.

P.S. the bookstores above do not have any technical books. All the technical books in the field of engineering or science are in Korean. So you can order them online via Amazon or what the book.

Paad Bing Su.. 팥빙수

16 08 2010

Come summer and Korea offers a lot of delicacies to beat off the heat. Most of you might have had the variants of Noodles served with crushed ice. But what really took me by my heart is Paad Bing Su..

Picture Credit: Manji..

You can have Paad Bing Su like a meal or a dessert. It is basically made of crushed / sliced ice topped with sweet Red Bean paste, fruits like kiwi, pineapple, banana, strawberry and others. Normally the sliced ice is mixed with condensed milk and small pieces of tokk (rice cakes). Finally is topped with yogurt. Baskin Robbins or the various other cafes serving Paad-Bing-Su would top it with Ice Cream.

This one is not to be missed before the Summer gives it way to fall..

Caribbean Bay – best way to beat the heat in Korea

9 08 2010

The best way to beat the summer heat in Korea would be to visit the Caribbean Bay – the biggest water park in Korea. Caribbean Bay is a part of the Everland Amusement Park at Yongin and is easily accessible via city buses from Gangnam, Yangjae, Sadang, Suwon and various other places.

If you love to be in water then Caribbean Bay is the place to be. The entire park has this Caribbean and Pirates theme and they have many an exciting water slides, wave pools, surfing, spa, sauna, indoor and outdoor pools and jacuzzi to keep you busy throughout the day. Plus they have many a snack and food outlet which serves yummy food.

Beach chairs, lockers, towels, life vests are available on rental. You need to purchase bay coins which can be traded for food and rental once you are inside the park. A few things to remember:

  1. The Caribbean bay is most crowded as this is this Gold Season also the ticket prices are high.
  2. Since the place is crowded the waiting time for slides would be around 60 minutes minimum.
  3. The bay coins are available for a minimum denomination of 30,000 won. The balance would be refundable at the counter once you are done for the day.
  4. The best ride to relax was the lazy river. Where you sleep on a float and let the river take its course to navigate your float across.
  5. Surf ride was best too but the wait time was too long. But that would be the case with any ride.
  6. A few places where you would be not expected to wait for long would be the sauna, spa , jacuzzi, pools, wave pools, river but it will be crowded anyways.
  7. The food and beer is easily available at various counters and is yummy.
  8. If you buy tickets on your credit card you get awesome discounts on your ticket.
  9. It takes around an hour to reach Caribbean bay by bus from Gangnam so it is better to leave early in the morning to avoid the long queues.
  10. For more details you can visit their website here and here.